Arsenal’s stoppage-time win against Leicester has Gunner fans dreaming of a Premier League title.
For about 90 minutes of Arsenal’s match-up against Leicester, it looked as if the Gunners’ title hopes were going to take a significant blow. Then came Danny Welbeck’s magnificent header in stoppage time and suddenly, they were installed as the favorites.
Truthfully, even if they’d failed to defeat the Foxes they still would have found themselves squarely in the title race. The miraculous three points just make the road ahead a little easier. It also gives the team much-needed momentum heading down the season’s home stretch.
Currently, Arsene Wenger’s men find themselves in third, just two points behind the aforementioned Foxes. They’ll need to overcome Leicester and their rivals Tottenham to hoist the trophy at season’s end. Arsenal fans know this is one of the best opportunities they’ll ever have to win the league given the struggles of other traditional powers.
Still, the Gunners find themselves in a dog fight. They have the talent required to take home the trophy, but they’ll need perseverance and good fortune to end their title drought. Here are four reasons they can do what’s required, and win the Premier League this year.
The former Chelsea goalkeeper has been excellent for the Gunners this season and is a big reason why they find themselves in the thick of the title race. His shot-stopping ability combined with his ability to organize the Gunners’ defense make him one of the Premier League’s best between the pipes.
Cech may not be worth the 12-15 points that Chelsea defender John Terry estimated he might bring to Arsenal, but let’s just say the Gunners aren’t at all unhappy with the value their acquisition has brought them. He’s been a significant upgrade in goal for Arsene Wenger.
The 33-year-old Czech international has been a bright spot all year-long for the Gunners’ defense. He’s even been named Man of the Match twice for Arsenal in the campaign. Purchasing a goalkeeper in the transfer window isn’t a sexy addition, but it’s been a solid one for Wenger and Arsenal.
His experience at Chelsea also provides Arsenal a steady hand as they try to win their own Premier League title. They don’t have to worry once a second about how he might react in a big match. They know he’ll play fearlessly no matter the stakes.
Arsenal wouldn’t be in this Premier League title race without Petr Cech and they’ll need him at the top of his game if they’re going to win the trophy.
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They’ve Had Their Magic Moment
Every team that’s successful in winning a Premier League trophy has to experience that season-defining moment that will live on in their club’s history forever. Arsenal can already check that off with Danny Welbeck’s stoppage-time winner versus Leicester.
You can bet that the Welbeck goal will be on the Arsenal DVD if they’re able to win a Premier League title. It was a magical finish that occurred at the perfect time for the Gunners. The fact that it happened to one of their chief rivals for the league’s top spot only makes it more marketable.
The only question is whether or not they had their season-defining moment too early. Usually, they occur within the last couple of games of the season for a title winner, and there are still a lot of seasons left. The Gunners better hope they didn’t spend their magic moment too early in their quest for a title.
World-Class Offensive Talent
It goes without saying that if you want to finish at the top of the Premier League table you’re going to have to score some goals. With world-class offensive talents like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, the Gunners can score them by the bushel.
Critics of Arsenal will point to their lack of a world-class number nine as an obstacle for them, but the quality of their attacking midfield overcomes any deficiency they may have at striker. The German international Ozil can pick a pass from anywhere on the pitch to set an Arsenal attacker free. He pulls the strings for the club’s entire offensive scheme and that’s why he has an eye-popping 17 assists in just 24 Premier League appearances.
It’s almost unfair that Wenger gets to partner him with another offensive force like Alexis. The Chilean attacker is Arsenal’s most lethal finisher and can create chances out of just inches of space. His combination of speed and skill makes him a nightmare to defend.
Arsenal’s wealth of offensive talent means they can outscore opponents if need be. That flexibility of playing style greatly enhances their odds of bringing home a Premier League title to the Emirates.
The Wenger Factor
The Wenger factor isn’t just about the French man being a terrific Premier League manager. While he is certainly that, this describes the motivation that Arsenal players and fans will feel to win one for their boss before his career ends.
He may not be the warmest manager on the planet, but he does engender love among his Arsenal players. As the season winds down, there will be more and more chatter about how this might be Wenger’s last real chance to win a Premier League title. That will inevitably light a fire in some of the Gunner players.
That slight emotional edge could be the difference between finishing first or second at the end of the season. Premier League titles are won on small margins and this could certainly be large enough to influence the race.
The stars might be aligning for Wenger to finally end Arsenal’s Premier League title drought. He’ll never ask them to do it for him, but the players might just be galvanized by their desire to get Wenger a Premier League trophy before he ultimately calls it quits.
Proper preparation and planning will determine Arsenal’s destiny in the coming season, and this rests on one man’s shoulders: Arsene Wenger. It is anyone’s guess what he’d do. As fans, we can only hope that he acts decisively once this season is over. But if there’s hope anywhere, it must lie in his fierce competitiveness.
The man hates to lose; he hates to be second best. One therefore can bet his or her bottom dollar that he is tired of being second fiddle to Manchester United and Chelsea; that he loathes upstarts like Manchester City.
This should rouse him to proper action. One thing is certain: It’s time Arsenal won something again.